Education on the Farm

The children of San Ramon have access to a really wonderful rural educational opportunity when they visit Forest Home Farms. The farm hosts many, many visits each year by school children, scouting groups, birthday parties, and day camps and child care facilities.

I have a written a little about the farm before but thought I’d give you a look at a recent school group’s experience. The children get taken to the gardens and the chickens, among other things. I, however, volunteer in the barn area so  that’s what you’ll see here. My friend Patsy is a member of the co-op of sheep owners who have their sheep there and she coordinates the children’s education in this area. She has planned a very interesting program for the children, which varies depending on what sheep are there, what time of year it is, and what activities the children are able to participate in.  So, let’s take a look at one group’s recent experience.

On their way into the barnyard, the children see barnboard signs which begin their education about what they’ll see.

Some of the flock was waiting for the children to arrive.

Patsy started by telling the children that we do things for sheep and they do things for us.

We feed them…

Sam, a bottle baby, decides to feed himself.

"I don't need them to feed me - I can do it all by myself!"

We spend time with them….

The children take the sheep for a walk

We move them where we need them to go – to new pastures, into the barn at night, using trained Border Collies.

Patsy's Border Collie, Tap, moves the sheep

Tap brings the sheep back to Patsy - can you see him behind the sheep?

Tru waits her turn – somewhat patiently.

"It must be my turn sometime soon!"

Tru moves the sheep

Here, you see a rare sight – T.K., a herding cat!

"I don't know why those dogs run all over the place - all I have to do is lie here and the sheep go where I want them to!"

The second part of the “lesson” is: what do sheep give us? The children guess “wool” and are correct!

They got to wash a little fleece…

They dry their fleece on the drying fence!

I set up my spinning wheel and drum carder so they could see how we get yarn from their washed bits of fleece.

Here, I am spinning California Red wool from one of the sheep from this farm

Sam also works as our wool inspector.

"Grade A!"

Then, we looked at how the yarn is made into finished knitted and woven things to wear or use.

"I just wear what grows on me naturally"

The children went home with hand spun yarn bracelets that we made for them, a little reminder of a fun day on the farm.

Patsy and her group gave the children a little peek into the life of the sheep on a very nice farm.

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Published in: on August 18, 2011 at 3:35 am  Leave a Comment  

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